Dried Chilies - Help Needed!
I LOVE very spicy food. So, when I was at Cost Plus and saw new dried chiles, I couldn't help myself.
But now I'm not sure what to do with them and whether the flavor will sync with the things I usually make (asian/thai stir frys and mexican food). Or - do I need to find regional recipes to best use the chiles? Please help if you know!
1. Birdseye Chilies - Super Hot - Product of Africa. Are these really hot? What are they good in?
2. Guajillo Chilies - Hot - Product of Mexico. Same questions.
3. Thai Chilies - Hot - Product of Thailand. I assume I just rehydrate these chiles and use them liek regular. I know to keep the seeds in to make it more spicy. Any other suggestions?
Birdseye and Thai chiles I've used as is in stir-fries, or ground as a seasoning in some dishes. And oh yah, those birdseyes are HOT. I linked to the Scoville scale below so you get an idea (ex. Guajillos 2,500-5,000; Birdseye 100,000 to 225,000). Guajillos I use the same way DanaB mentions, although I stem and seed mine before I toast them, and let them soften whole in hot water for about 20 minutes before pureeing. Or when I make beans, I'll throw a couple guajillos (seeded and stemmed) in the pot. The skin separates and you can remove it easily, and the flesh 'melts' into the beans for terrific flavor.
Scoville Heat Index:
I mainly put whole dried chilies into my chili these days, I might crush them before doing this to release the seeds. The hard outer skin makes chopping before adddition problematic. I think it's possible to soften them in hot water and scrape off the inner flesh and seeds for sauces etc... but this is also too much trouble IMO.
The guajillo chiles are common in many mexican dishes. I don't usually purchase the chiles on their own, but for use as a component in a dish. Guajillos are called for in my chili recipe and also for use in some salsas. You toast them on a griddle (be careful not to scorch them as they will become bitter), then seed and stem them, tear them up and put them in a blender with enough hot water to just cover. Let them sit in the hot water until softened, and puree them in the water. You will end up with a chile paste/sauce that you can use in other dishes.